No Federal Charges In Gym Mat Death Case

Jun 20, 2016

The Department of Justice will not file charges in the 2013 death of Kendrick Johnson. He’s the Valdosta teenager who was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat inside Lowndes High School. 

Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office met in Macon on Monday with Johnson’s parents to inform them of the findings and the conclusion of the investigation.

The U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia said that federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone or some group of people willfully violated Kendrick Johnson’s civil rights or committed any other prosecutable federal crime.

"The Department of Justice, in particular the lawyers and investigators who have worked tirelessly on this investigation, express their most sincere condolences to Kendrick Johnson’s parents, family, and friends,” said Acting United States Attorney Carole Rendon. “We cannot imagine the pain of their loss, or the depths of their sorrow. We regret that we were unable to provide them with more definitive answers about Kendrick’s tragic death.”

Outside the attorney’s office after Monday's decision Jackie Johnson, Kendrick’s mother said she’s hurt by the decision, but, she said, "It was expected since no one else has gotten justice from the Department of Justice," referring to several other cases across the country involving men of color.

The Johnson's attorney said the family will re-file the two wrongful death suits that they originally filed, but withdrew in March.